5 Things You Need To Start Doing—Today
• Consume complex carbohydrates throughout the day. Our bodies are extremely efficient at metabolizing carbohydrates for energy. Thus, it makes sense to consume complex carbohydrates (fiber and starches) throughout the day so that we have the energy we need to perform optimally as opposed to at night when we are most sedentary.
• Plan, plan, plan. Whether it’s planning and preparing meals ahead of time or planning workouts, planning is KEY to achieving our health goals. When we don’t plan, we set ourselves up to fail. Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D. associate director for the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia University Business School and author of Nine Things Successful People Do Differently emphasizes focusing on what you will do rather than what you will not. Rather than focusing on what behavior needs to change, create a plan to replace that behavior.
• Choose whole foods. Avoid consuming processed foods whenever possible. Processed foods are packed with manmade chemicals and preservatives that are not natural to our body’s digestive and metabolic systems. Many digestive disorders, such as Irritable Bowl Syndromes, can be treated simply by consuming a whole foods diet.
• Avoid labeling foods as good or bad. Are you really going to never eat a slice of pizza again or be the person who refuses to eat their own birthday cake? Rather than putting foods off limit, consider what they do for your body. If they don’t do much aside from pleasuring the taste buds, limit them. Moderation is key. In fact, restrictive dieters are more at risk to develop binging habits.
• Reward yourself (but not with food, you aren’t a dog). Rewarding yourself for your accomplishments, big or small, helps to reinforce positive behavior. However, those rewards should not involve food which can counteract hard work. Treat yourself to a new workout shirt, a pair of dope kicks, a magazine subscription, etc.
What would you say if I asked you to name one thing you do better than anyone else? This was a question a friend asked me a few weeks ago and it left me rather stumped. I could easily compile a long list of things that I excel at, but “better than anyone else?”
At 24, I am beginning to enter the “quarter life crisis” that plagues my generation. Am I working for the right company? Am I making enough money? Have I traveled enough? Have I lived enough? Do I have enough friends? Do I have the right friends? Do I live in the right city? Is my youth running out? Am I enough?
I am constantly working to deepen my self-awareness. Thus, for the last few weeks I have begun studying myself in various situations. It is so important to get to know yourself. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I know that my life is only just beginning. And yet, like the rest of my generation, I am suffocated by the notion that I must have it all figured out. Right now. Today.
The truth is that while I still cannot tell you what I do better than anyone else, I am getting there. I am very much lost in the right direction. I know what exhilarates me. I know who and what is toxic to my life and have begun making adjustments accordingly. Do not be afraid to ask yourself what you want and use tunnel vision to get there.
“The more you let go, the higher you rise.” -Yasmin Mogahed
When do we learn to tell ourselves that anything less than perfection means failure? Don’t get me wrong, being a “perfectionist” certainly has its perks–It has set me apart from the crowd and allowed me to achieve whatever it is I set my mind to. However, when it comes to our health, putting such intense pressure on ourselves 24/7 takes its toll. I’m writing this blog today because while I am going 90mph, plowing my way through last-minute assignments and finals week, I find myself completely and totally overwhelmed. Over the next two weeks, there will be days when I simply will not have time to go to the gym without overexerting myself. As hard as that is for me, I have to learn to remind myself that it’s okay to take a few days off.
When I am stressed/upset, everything I eat disagrees with me, so it is extremely important that I make efforts to get the nutrients I need. However, for some individuals, stress and anxiety are what cause them to emotionally eat.When it comes to living healthy, we need to learn to remind ourselves that slip-ups are part of the process. If you find yourself mindlessly eating a bag of candy, instead of getting depressed and hating yourself for it, tell yourself, “today was hard, tomorrow will be better.” One way to prevent this is allowing yourself planned portioned treats throughout the week (a handful of m&ms, small mug of ice cream, 2 oreoes).
No one is perfect. We have all given into temptation and ate that plate of triple cheese nachos, but remember that does not cancel out all of your hard work. Week in and week out, you are making efforts to live the healthiest life possible so be proud of that! For my fellow perfectionists, we must learn to be more aware of our bodies’ and minds’. We must be able to recognize when we have gone too far.